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County Commissioners Outline Priorities, Budget Considerations

Feb 13, 2020

During a special meeting today, the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners outlined short-term and long-term priorities, as well as budget considerations and items assigned to staff for follow up.

Public water expansion in Gray’s Creek, an Emergency Services Center and a performing arts center were listed as short-term priorities because action has already started on these projects.

  • In January, the board approved $10.5 million for the continued exploration of extending water in the Gray’s Creek district, with the first phase installing water lines to Alderman Road and Gray’s Creek Elementary Schools.
  • In a separate business item later in the agenda, the board approved the architect’s schematic design plans for the new Emergency Services Center that will be housed in a former Department of Defense building at 500 Executive Place. The board also approved for the 911 Committee to receive progress reports and direct staff through the remainder of the pre-construction process.
  • The board is awaiting a consultant’s market analysis and feasibility study for a new performing arts center, or multi-functional cultural venue, to replace the Crown Theatre and Arena. Spectra Venue Management, the private company that manages the Crown Complex for the County, hired the consultant. The report is expected in May. The board suggested the study look at including a children’s museum in the venue footprint.

Holding discussions with Cumberland County Schools and Fort Bragg officials about building a new E.E. Smith High School near the post and I-295 and conducting a feasibility study for a new governmental complex for County services were also short-term priorities. 

Two long-term projects over the next 10 years are countywide water expansion and construction of a new governmental complex. 

The board outlined school funding, mental health, public health and employee recruitment and retention as priorities for the upcoming FY2021 budget.

Commissioners also directed staff to follow up with a homelessness plan, Parks and Recreation report, accessibility improvements to the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Cumberland County Courthouse and to work toward establishing a farmers’ market in the county.